The Day of Long-Range Aviation of the Air and Space Forces of the Russian Federation is annually celebrated on December 23. It was on this day, in 1913, made the first test flight of the largest (at that time) aircraft in the world – a four-engine heavy bomber “Ilya Muromets” aircraft designer Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky. Exactly one year later, on December 23, 1914, the decree of Emperor Nicholas II approved the decree of the Military Council on the formation of the first squadron of Ilya Muromets airplanes.
The head of the squadron was Mikhail Shidlovsky (Major General, Chairman of the Board of Shareholders of the Russian-Baltic Carriage Plant, on which the Ilya Muromets bombers were built).
The holiday was established in 1999 by order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force of the Russian Federation.
Today, long-range aviation is one of the components of the nuclear triad on a par with submarines and strategic missile forces. Armed YES consists of Tu-160 and Tu-95MS strategic missile carriers, long-range Tu-22M3 missile-carrier bombers, Il-78 refueling aircraft and Tu-22MR reconnaissance aircraft.
The main armament of the aircraft are long-range cruise missiles, operational and tactical missiles in the nuclear and conventional versions, as well as aerial bombs for various purposes.
On November 17, 2015, Russian strategic and long-range bombers, which took off from airfields in the Russian Federation, launched massive strikes with new X-101 cruise missiles and bombs on militant targets in the Syrian Arab Republic. This was the first combat use of the Tu-160 and Tu-95 aircraft. In 2015-2017 YES planes repeatedly struck targets of terrorists in Syria.
For long-range aviation, the Tu-160 aircraft already in service before the modification of the Tu-160M is being upgraded. The first Tu-160M2 aircraft is in production at the Kazan Aviation Plant. For strategic bombers Tu-160M2 developed several types of new aircraft missiles. Mass production involves the construction of about 50 missile carriers of this type.
In the near future, the serial modernization of the Tu-22M3 under the project Tu-22M3M should begin. This aircraft was first shown in Kazan in August of this year. A significant part of the updated aircraft systems will be unified with those used on the latest modification of the Tu-160M2 missile carrier.
The long-range aviation structure of the VKS of Russia also includes IL-78 tankers.
The new IL-78M-90A tanker, designed to replace the IL-78 and IL-78M tankers, is currently undergoing flight tests. Serial production of these aircraft will be organized at the Aviastar-SP plant in Ulyanovsk.